New Exhibit at The Herbert; Wonder

(Perpetuation (2019) by Edie Jo Murray, CGI animation still. Image © The artist)
Stepping into the Upstairs Gallery ( Gallery 1) in The Herbert, Coventry, always transports me to a happy place. And the new Summer exhibition, Wonder is no exception. With work by 7 exceptional local artists, they have taken inspiration from the permanent art collection that The Herbert houses.
“Seven remarkable artists have been united to take you on a journey to enchanting new worlds, one of unexpected environments, and dreamlike realities.”
A group of Coventry Bloggers were invited along to the Exhibition opening, and after party, which was hosted by Secret Knock Zine on Friday 28th July.
//Exclusive launch of the third issue of Secret Knock zine
//A live DJ set from Moonth & Hue of Ghost Town
//A free Zine making workshop in response to the Wonder exhibition
The invited hauds devoured the craft tables supplied by Secret Knock Zine. There were stickers and maps, crayons and glue. There badge makng, copies of the latest Zine that was Lunched on the night, and the creator of the Zine, who I reminisced with about gorilla artists and when Art was not about Arts council funding (as wonderful as the funding is).
So up the stairs we went, turning left at the top, and through the siding door into Wonder(land). I certainly felt like Alice as I stepped into a different world, created by Illustrator, Ben Javens. he invites the viewer to go beyond the gallery wall like Alice through the looking glass. His work will incorporate a salon hang from his own pieces and the Herbert’s collection, leading to a life-size diorama installation. Crawl through an aperture to discover a hidden landscape. HIs work was bright colourful, and very photogenic! I imagine you will find it all over social media very soon!*
Be part of Wonder (land) (including myself as Alice)
Through the Looking Glass you are faced with “The Light Pavilion”created by Julia Snowdin has created an unexpected and unimaginable spaces for families and friends to come together for a shared experience of play and interaction within Light Pavilion. The light installation offers moments of magic and calm as patterns and colours spiral in an unexpected and unimaginable space. Captivating and alluring, Light Pavilion is for all audiences to watch, share and enjoy together, and leave with memories. Julia’s work has been kindly supported by Arts Council England*.
Back through to the other room, there is a series of off white sheers painted with feathery rough black marks. This is a selection from Lucy McLauchlan who does large-scale monochromatic paintings have covered multi-story buildings across Europe, gigantic billboards in China, windows in Japan, huts in The Gambia, Detroit car parks and abandoned NYC subway tunnels. Taking imprints of the Herbert and its physical surroundings, she creates a form of documentation using canvases painted beyond the frame edge, and public murals in the city.* She has also adorned the boards opersite the street entrance to The Herbert ( behind Drapers Bar). This mural is fantastic, and really was a big talking point in the evening.
Next around the room you come to Work of Edie Jo Murray intercepted with the large vinyl stickers created by Antonio Roberts.
Antonio Roberts is a new media artist and curator who uses technology-driven processes to explore issues surrounding open source software, free culture and collaborative practices. For Wonder, he reimagines popular cartoon characters to discuss the sinister side of these childhood fairytales and question the use of IP and copyright laws to control how these stories are told and by whom.*
Edie Jo Murray is a neuro-divergent practitioner with an obsession with digital sensory experiences and alternate realities. For Wonder, Edie brings insects and animals from the Herbert’s Natural History collection to life using Augmented Reality technology alongside animations. Uncover hidden creatures by scanning artworks throughout the exhibition, and explore ideas of digital replication and preservation.*
And Section of the exhibition was by Davy and Kristin McGuire have created a body of work inspired by the seedy, shady underworld of Film Noir. Characters come alive within a series of intricate, animated, wall-mounted dollhouses. These magical artworks somehow take the viewer back to a child-like state of fascination and awe. The silent dioramas are made more absorbing when you become aware that the artists themselves play all of the characters. Through a combination of technology and creativity the delicate fantasies are momentarily brought to life through digital projections and silent storytelling. *
Miniature underworld
I have tried not to spoil all the surprises, and remove the Wonder of the exhibition. I have tried to keep my photos at abstract angles, so that when you visit the exhibit, it still takes your breath away like it did mine. The exhibition is suitable for all ages ( although there are some pieces which contain adult content, but these are placed at a height so youngster won’t see anything untoward).
I have created separate reviews for each artist, so that you can see what I thought of each after you have seen the exhibition! Please tell us what you though. Which looks the most interesting to you, and why?
Edie Jo Murray
Ben Javen
Julia Snowdin
Antonio Roberts
Davy and Kristin McGuire
Lucy McLauchlan
(*Text taken from Herbert website)

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